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New hope for parents of premature babies as parental leave could be set to extend

A Bill proposing to make the statutory parental leave more flexible for parents whose babies are born prematurely or are very sick has passed its first reading.

The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Premature and Sick Babies, David Linden MP, explained that “many parents who face the brutal choice of having to return to work whilst their child is still in hospital.”

He highlighted the fact that in some cases a child might be born very prematurely and could “spend weeks on neonatal intensive care units”. In such cases, parental leave, particularly paternal leave, is often grossly inadequate

“Existing UK employment legislation takes no account of the fact that some babies will spend much longer in hospital after being born, especially if they’re born premature or sick,” he said.

The MP for Glasgow East spoke from personal experience in regard to his own children, both of whom were born prematurely and spent weeks in intensive care. The fact that parental leave was so limited forced him back to work whilst his child was still in the hospital.

This simple but important initiative did not receive any opposition and will help, if it becomes law, relieve pressure on parents who have a very sick or premature baby.

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK said:

“Ten Minute Rule Bills rarely become law, so we are calling on the Government to commit to introducing new legislation that will ensure that these proposals become law.

“This small change in the law would provide parents with the flexibility that would ensure they are able to care for their child without the added pressure of potentially losing their job.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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